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Vixen Exclusive: 'Single Ladies' Star Cassandra Freeman Talks Single Girl Advantages, TV Sitcoms and Her Relationship With Chris Rock!

Cassandra Freeman has been a familiar face onscreen as she's landed roles alongside Hollywood's most notorious actors for the past 8 years. Guest starring on last season's Single Ladies,  the actress is rejoining the delicious cast for the reprisal of her role as Morgan Hayes. Vixen sat down with the beautiful, comedic and vivacious star to get the scoop on life on set, the advantages to being single (in real life) and working alongside Denzel Washington and Chris Rock.

This season you’ve reprised your role as Morgan. What’s the set like with the other girls?
Well, we all had the experience last year on set together and it always feels like coming home to family. We’re all huggers and kissers. Lisa Ray is awesome, I always feel like she’s great at bringing stability. She’s like my guru, and makes me check myself.

Is there a real chemistry between you guys on set?
Yeah, for sure. We are there for hours on end so thank God its good chemistry—otherwise it’d be impossible to do a show like that.

And the cast wardrobes are amazing! That has to be the biggest perk to this entire project?
For sure! Now we have a new wardrobe stylist on the show, Anthony, he’s from Project Runway. He’s amazing, and if you see our wardrobes, it will take hours to go through everything. I always feel like I’m princess Barbie or something. It’s very much like Sex and the City on set.

How did you break into acting and getting the role in Single Ladies?
I’ve been acting since I was 15. I went to a great arts high school in Jacksonville, Florida. I auditioned there to be in the band, and I begged my dad to let me do acting for a year. And of course it turned into something I wanted to do after aciting in plays like For Colored Girls. I was like “oh my god, I should be doing this.” When I went to Florida State I never really got casted. I was like the maid in the Shakespeare play. And then I went off to NYU and got my masters in acting. I landed a spot in the film, Inside Man and things started taking off. As for Single Ladies—ultimately I’ve been auditioning since it started. I loved the script and to read it is amazing. Finally this role came up, and I didn’t even go in for it. I didn’t even get called in for it. Then out of the blue, my people are like “you have to go in tomorrow.” The producers specifically asked for me.

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With the influx of reality shows now, is it important to keep sitcoms like Single Ladies afloat?
Here’s the thing, we’re in the renaissance of great TV. I don’t think it’s a problem. Right now we have every network starting to promote scripted shows like Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, everything is doing scripted series. I think networks are starting to see that it’s a great tool to push people and it’s great for propaganda and pushing your brand. For VH1, to do a show like Single Ladies is brilliant because we do have a lot of entertainers, and people that are current so it’s a good thing. I teach at Fordham, and I tell my students that whatever you value, is the content that you come out with. If you don’t like what you’re watching, turn the channel to another network. There’s something for everyone.

I've noticed that the ladies on the show make single life look fabulous, but in reality it isn’t all of the time. What do you think are advantages to being on your own?
Look.. I just got a new bed, and it is SO nice to sleep in the middle of my bed. There are a lot of great things, like I’m a person with a lot of energy, so it’s really fun for me to even go to parties by myself because I love the idea of meeting new people. I love meeting new men and women. You know with relationships, sometimes you have to check in, really take care of them. It’s so nice not having a parent! I’m currently single so I’m enjoying every bit of it!

What was your worst dating experience?
Okay so this was many years ago. But I went on a date, and I remember the guy asked me ahead of time and wanted to pick me up. It’s one of my rules and a really big deal for a guy to know where I live, so that usually doesn’t happen and I prefer to meet them. So I told him I will drive over to him, and then we get to his car and go out to eat and then we were supposed to head to the movies. But instead we went to Blockbusters (that lets you know how long ago that was) and I was flipping out. Like what? We’re going to watch movies in his house? I went along with it. So we get to his house and we watch the movie. I went to the bathroom and when I come out of the bathroom, I kid you not, he was BUTT NAKED—in a tiger G-string! I’m shocked and had to tell him he was really confused about what tonight was going to be about. He had an amazing body but that freaked me out. I ran out and never called him again.

That’s horrifying! Sorry that happened to you. When it comes to dating, is it okay for the woman to be the aggressor/initiator or more submissive?
I’ve been engaged many times, and women always ask me how did I get the ring. I’m the girl who gets proposed to, or the men are asking me on dates. And I think the reason is because I’m not necessarily out looking for a boyfriend. But even when the guy approaches me, it takes a lot. I think dudes approach girls more if they seem really uninterested.

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It’s always the women who aren’t putting themselves too much out there or not hard core hunting that land great relationships
Absolutely. And even if you’re going on dates with people, it’s not asking “when are we going out again?” Men are like lions, they want to go out and hunt. So if they see the thing they’re hunting for laying out on the ground, they are going to think something’s wrong.

You’ve worked with a lot of big names already—like Denzel Washington, Isaiah Washington and Chris Rock—who’s one male actor that you’d love to work with, particularly as a love interest?
Oh my goodness, that’s such a dangerous question! There’s so many people. I always feel bad saying it because I know certain people are married, but who wouldn’t love Blair Underwood, or Michael Ealy. Yumm!

And I read somewhere that Chris Rock actually encouraged you into doing standup comedy?
Yea for sure. After the I think I love my Wife movie, he was such an encourager and was like, “ Oh, you’re funny.” And I’m like brushing it off, then he goes, “ no you’re like really funny.” So I said “Really?” and it took me a minute to process that Chris Rock, one of the biggest comedic figures of our time, told me I’m funny. I should do something with it. So I went and did it, and it was great. I just couldn’t keep up doing standup because I didn’t understand the lifestyle of it. Like if I’m supposed to keep doing the same jokes. I didn’t get it.

What are some other projects we can catch you involved with?
I’m actually working on my own web series. I need a place to release all of my Lucille Ball-ness. It’s called "12 Months of June." It’s about a girl, she’s a lawyer, an intern, but really she’s having a midlife crisis and realizes that maybe she’d be happier if she was a life coach. She thinks she’s Tony Robins or Oprah, but she’s really bad at it. And all the people that she gives life coaching too don’t really need it. So it’s following her on her journey of figuring it out. Really funny.

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That Glow, Tho: How To Revive Your Skin After A Brick A** Winter

Whew, chile! Freshly fallen snow may be nice to look at, but the dry skin that accompanies the winter months ain’t it. And by the time the first tulip blooms come springtime, best believe your skin—which just endured months of humidity-deprived conditions—is super parched. Pass the moisturizer, please!

“The lack of humidity during the winter months is the main cause for the ‘winter’s itch’ and dryness,” Dr. Meena Singh, board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, told VIBE Vixen over email. And let’s not forget how the shorter days rob us ladies of the melanated variety of our warm and natural glow.

Luckily, there are many ways to combat such cold weather woes, both during and after the winter.

“I personally change my regimen significantly between seasons,” Singh added. “In the winter time, I am more prone to use heavier ointments and butters. Whereas in the spring, I can typically get away with moisturizing with emollient creams and lotions.”

But that’s not all you can do to whip your skin back into shape. Looking to bring your fly and radiant self back to life? Look no further. Vixen reached out to five women of color dermatologists, who’ve shared the following tips to help you get started.

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Hydrate From Within.

How many times have you asked a woman with bomb skin what her secret is and been met with the “I drink a lot of water” response? Did you figuratively roll your eyes? We’ve been there and we get it, especially since science says genetics do play a role in how your skin behaves—but homegirl wasn’t wrong!

Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden, board-certified NYC dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, tells Vixen that while you may not feel as thirsty when it’s cold out, it’s still important to stay hydrated and drink your eight glasses of water a day.

“The best way to avoid dry skin in the winter is to tackle it from the inside out,” she says.

Other ways to stay hydrated? Health.com suggests eating fruits such as apples, pears, and clementines, which are all over 80% water. Plus, not only will the vitamin C content of these fruits help you ward off the flu in the winter, but they’ll also keep you cool and refreshed once the weather warms up.

We stan a multifaceted solution.

Don't Forget To Cleanse.

As important as it is to drink your eight glasses a day, it’s also important to keep up with your cleansing routine—even if you’re not sweating as much.

In fact, board-certified Chicago dermatologist Dr. Caroline Robinson tells Vixen that maintaining moisture during the harsh winter months begins with cleansing. Washing our face removes makeup, dirt, and debris from the day, preventing buildup and breakouts. This also means the expensive serums and moisturizers you’ve probably splurged on are better absorbed by the skin.

But don’t overdo it!

“I find that many patients are over-cleansing, over-exfoliating or using cleansers that are not appropriate for their skin type and this is causing excess dryness,” she added. “Using a more mild cleanser can help tremendously in the battle against dryness.”

Our dermatologist-recommended favorite? CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser Bar.

It may also help to reconsider what you’re washing with when the weather changes. Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, Medical Director of Ingleton Dermatology, adds that as the temperatures go up, your routine should become “less heavy.”

“Switch from more hydrating cleaners and oils to foamy, gel-based cleaners” and to “a lighter weight daily moisturizer,” she advises. And if you’ve been skimping on the SPF don’t—you’ll definitely need it when the sun is back in these streets.

Keeping Up With "Wash Day" Is Important, Too.

Otherwise, you may end up with a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which often appears on the scalp as a result of product buildup, but can also show up in skin folds such as behind the ears, under the breasts, etc.

“A dry, itchy and flaking scalp is very common in the winter and becomes more common as the frequency of washing the hair decreases,” Cook-Bolden tells Vixen. “When seborrheic dermatitis presents, it’s a common belief that applying scalp lotions, gels or pomades will help to treat the condition and is indeed sometimes helpful in temporarily soothing the itching and irritation.

However, as these products build up on the scalp, they can actually worsen the inflammation and overall worsen seborrheic dermatitis.”

So keep up with your hair care regimen, and if you do find yourself with a case of the seborrheic itchies, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dermatologist for an anti-inflammatory treatment.

Ceramides & Antioxidants Are Your Friends.

If you’re not familiar with ceramides and their superpowers, now’s the time to get familiar. Why? Because they can be extremely healing for desiccated skin.

As Atlanta board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Clay explains, ceramides are fats in the surface of the skin. When added to skin care products, they not only help your skin retain moisture, but they also give your skin a boost after being exposed to the elements like pollution and icy wind.

In terms of what to use, you’ll want to look for products described as “non-comedogenic,” which means a product is less likely to clog your pores. Additionally, products containing hyaluronic acid (HA) are also a win because of its ability to attract and hold water at the surface of the skin.

“I typically recommend patients keep their antioxidant serum/lotion (vitamin C) and their retinol on board no matter the season,” Clay also notes. “Over- the- counter retinols and prescription retinoids are vitamin A derived medications that most people use in a topical form.”

And they’re a major win-win. Using retinols/retinoids short term will help exfoliate your skin and give you that Kelly Rowland glow. Their long-term use helps to promote collagen production in the skin, minimizing fine lines and decreasing excess melanin production, which will even your complexion, reduce hyperpigmentation, and help reduce photo-damage.

As for vitamin C, look at it as SPF’s best friend.

“Vitamin C is an antioxidant that, when applied topically in combination with daily sun protection, decreases free-radical damage from ultraviolet exposure,” Clay shares.

Those rays don’t stand a chance.

Exfoliate, But Make It Gentle.

It may be tempting to grab the St. Ives but don’t. Instead, Clay suggests, get acquainted with chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandolin acid, or salicylic acid.

These strong but gentle powerhouses typically come labeled as AHAs and BHAs (alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid) and are way less harsh on the skin. Those over-the-counter scrubs you’re used to? They tend to leave scrapes and cuts on the skin, which can lead to inflammation and—you guessed it—hyperpigmentation... and we ain’t ask for all’at.

If you do decide to use a traditional scrub, Ingleton suggests trying Dove’s Exfoliating Body Scrub.

“This will help to slough away dry, dead cells on the surface and also hydrate/moisturize the skin in the process,” she says. “Apply a hydrating body lotion after doing the scrub.”

But again, be gentle!

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Kylie Jenner attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Kylie Jenner Doubles Down On Being Crowned A "Self Made" Billionaire

The premise of "self-made" and its interpretation when it comes to privileged celebrities has been a huge debate. When Kylie Jenner was named Forbes' youngest self-made billionaire, debates were raised due to her timeline in the limelight and her wealthy family. The 21-year-old defended her title, explaining how she doesn't fall into any ofter category.

"There’s really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth," she said in Q&A with Interview Magazine's German edition. "That is the category that I fall under," she started.

She acknowledged how her fan base equated to her success but refuted claims that she used her family's money to jump-start her wildly successful Kylie Cosmetics line.

"Although, I am a special case because before I started Kylie Cosmetics, I had a huge platform and lots of fans. I did not get money from my parents past the age of 15. I used 100 percent of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited… and I am very proud of that."

Earlier this month (March 5) the mother-of-one officially surpassed Mark Zuckerberg as the youngest person to reach billionaire status, when Kylie Cosmetics hit a billion dollars in revenue.

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'Boomerang' Episode 7 Recap: Family Matters And Pride

Bryson and Simone are a thing, like for real for real. They can’t keep their hands (or tongues) off of one another. As the two of them get steamy in the jacuzzi, a sexually riled up Simone tells her new beau that she wants to treat his face like a bean bag. They are in it, y’all. There’s just one problem — they may be half-brother and sister (insert vomit emoji here). The excitement of finally landing the girl of his dreams is shut down when he reveals that his mother, Jacqueline, informed him that Marcus Graham may be his papa. (Wait. Does that mean Marcus cheated on Angela back in the day? Regardless, what a way to ruin a mood.)

As they wait for the DNA test results, Simone and Bryson still try to be business as usual, you know, chillin’ like they used to. Speaking of business, Bryson is all that. Ari may be his boy and all, but when it comes to directing Tia’s music video, Bryson wants an Italian dude to shoot it instead. He just doesn’t believe Ari can execute. All great directors have vision and through Bryson’s eyes, Ari has none. Simone can’t help but agree. It’s obvious that Tia and her bae are not at all pleased with the video production of her single. Bro gotsta go. Tia has never been one to hold back and in a fit of frustration, she does what Simone couldn’t verbalize; she fires Ari.

Like the “big bad boss” he is, Bryson harshly tells Ari that not only will he basically fail at being a producer, but people will notice that he doesn’t belong here. Hold up. Are we sure Bryson and Ari are friends? Tough love is understandable but to completely obliterate the dreams of someone you’ve been rocking with? That’s foul. Unlike Ari, Bryson knows that he was brought up with the keys and basically helped himself to whatever role he wanted in the industry, a luxury he can afford to extend. Why not help your friend out now even with a little guidance knowing his career aspirations?

Bryson may be able to but Simone is not willing to give up on Ari just yet. She lets Ari collaborate Bryson’s pick, Shayan, who is also seemingly having a hard time capturing dope shots. A conversation with Simone about perfecting his craft leaves Ari somewhat disappointed but open to the constructive criticism.

While enjoying the Atlanta Black Pride festivities, an old filing recognizes Ari and waves him down. In catching up, the discussion quickly takes a turn to sexual orientation labels with a judgemental tone and Ari is not having it. Sure, while he was with her, he liked women but sometimes he’d rather be with a man. “Bisexual,” “Gay,” call it whatever, he just likes who he likes, refuses to be put in a box, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is not about to happen is him being judged by a woman with five kids and three baby favas. Yikes.

That frustration instantly births inspiration. Instead of dryly shooting Tia performing with Pride weekend just happening around her, Ari points out how the world needs to see all black people not caring about what anyone has to say about them, especially when the world includes women rocking $12 jewelry. Sashayers, milly-rockers, and twerkers galore, the video shines on the culture, highlighting Kings and Queens of all shades, ages, genders, and sexualities. It’s a good time. Even Bryson can give up his props and that lead director credit to Ari. You see, Bryson? You gotta have a little faith like David always has.

Speaking of our fave pastor, unlike many Baptist churches, it’s amazing to see that David embraces and participates in the Atlanta Black Pride weekend. With the help of Crystal, David is preaching a message of loving who you are and loving others. His sermon last week no doubt spoke to the soul but if you recall, Crystal did notice that a lovely lady attended the service moreso for David and less so for Jesus. That obviously triggered something. Crystal and David may not have been able to work out their marriage but the attraction is absolutely still there. Could it be one-sided though?

You didn’t think we forgot about Bryson and Simone, did you? It should be noted that for his entire life, all Bryson ever wanted was to be like Marcus Graham, but not like this. David is right: be careful what you pray for. No matter the outcome of the paternity test, Simone and Bryson will undoubtedly be in one another’s life (maybe less like Whitley and Dwayne and more like Denise and Theo).

Well, folks, the results are in (insert Maury voice). In the case of Bryson J. Broyer, Marcus, you are NOT the father! But, you may still have some ‘splaining to do. Now that they are officially not related, Simone can finally go ahead and have that seat. We know, sis has been tired all day. Ow!

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